2022 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 119 Kyoto (ranked 182nd) is still in the top 200 despite negative momentum. To regain its national rank, Kyoto will need to create startups with higher impact. It would be wise to leverage its best ranking industry, Energy & Environment. There is positive momentum in Fukuoka, which ranked 220th, increasing 20 spots. Jumping by 197 spots and 215 spots, Sapporo and Tsukuba now rank 571st and 694th respectively. There are also some notable achievements from Japan’s debuting startup ecosystems. Sendai (ranked 394th globally) jumped to rank 6th nationally, and Naha (ranked 856th) is ranked 10th nationally. We would also like to welcome Okayama, now ranked 911th in the world, bringing the total number of Japan’s ecosystems in the top 1000 to 11. To further strengthen its global positioning, Japan should aim at having a second city in the global top 100. Startup Ecosystem Overview With a proven record of innovation, Japan is a tech pioneer. Apart from its historic success in building global companies such as Sony and Panasonic, the country also recognizes the importance of startups. However, the shift from building massive industrial consumer electronics and automobile companies towards startups is a difficult one. Like other economies in the region, a risk averse mindset is a challenge for the growth of Japan’s startup economy, in addition to a need to improve English skills to allow entrepreneurs to target international markets. The abundance of high-quality corporate jobs and a tight job market are creating a scarcity of talented and motivated entrepreneurs. With an aging population, Japan could benefit from attracting more foreign talent. The low number of unicorns could signal a lack of investment in the startup ecosystem. Yet interestingly, a daring and revolutionary VC venture is based in Japan. Softbank, led by Masayoshi Son, has had its ups and downs but has made a massive impact on the landscape of global investment. Japan is managing to gradually advance its startup economy with more investment and a mindset change of encouraging entrepreneurship, mainly boosted by a government that fully understands the importance of successful and innovative startup ecosystems. With support from the government, the J-Startup Program has set out to promote Japanese startups to the global market and to help create 20 unicorns by 2023. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is also helping startups go global by setting up the Startup City Acceleration Program. Japan’s clear strategy of creating competitive startup ecosystems shows that the country is moving in the right direction. Japan’s Startup Visa is already being implemented in a number of locations, such as Fukuoka City and Kobe City. The Japanese government has been active in Japan’s startup economy development with the promotion of Tokyo, Yokohama, Fukuoka, Kyoto, and Kansai as leading startup cities, in addition to state sponsored funding and accelerator programs for startups. With fintech and healthtech showing a lot of promise in Japan, we hope to see the country’s startup ecosystems attract global recognition.